Mayfair a semi-finalist at the Australia Independent Film Festival

Gangster tale Mayfair, the new film by award-winning director Sara Blecher (Ayanda, Dis Ek Anna, Otelo Burning) and writer Neil McCarthy, has been chosen as a semi-finalist in the 2018 Australia Independent Film Festival (AIFF).

Mayfair tells the story of prodigal son Zaid Randera (Ronak Patani) who returns home to Mayfair in Johannesburg, where his overbearing father Aziz (Rajesh Gopie) – a businessman and occasional money launderer – is facing death threats.

AIFF celebrates the importance of independent filmmaking, showcasing top independent films from across the globe and rewarding the very best in a number of categories. The winner will be announced on 30 October at the Metro Arts building in the vibrant and creative city of Brisbane.

“We are very excited that Mayfair is a semi-finalist,” says director Sara Blecher. “This is the third global festival we have been invited to participate in, and each one has a different focus. Film festivals are great launch pads for a new film. They are attended by acquisition executives who rely on the choices made by festival programmers to work their way through the best of the vast number of films in circulation. To screen at these festivals is a big plus for a film from South Africa and I am proud that the value of our work on Mayfair is being recognised globally.”

Due for release in South Africa on 26 October 2018, Mayfair has also been officially selected for the prestigious 62nd BFI London Film festival, which takes place from 10 to 21 October 2018. The film is playing in the Films in Thrill section of the BFI London Film festival, described as “nerve-shredders that’ll get your adrenaline pumping and keep you on the edge of your seat.”

The film will also screen at this year’s Africa in Motion (AiM), an annual African film festival taking place in Scotland, from 26 October to 4 November. Now in its twelfth year, AiM brings the best of African cinema to Scotland, making it possible for Scottish audiences to engage with African stories and industry professionals from the continent.

“Screening at festivals enables the film to play to an audience of receptive and appreciative filmgoers,” says Helen Kuun. MD of Indigenous Film Distribution. “It’s an excellent way to build publicity for a film like Mayfair in the lead up to its release.”

The film draws on the rich history of Mayfair, an Indian neighbourhood during the apartheid era that has more recently become an enclave for Somali immigrants arriving in Johannesburg. Despite their shared Muslim culture, the original residents of the suburb come into conflict with the Somali gangs and it’s the story of this struggle that lies at the heart of the film.

Zaid finds that everything at home has changed. The old neighbourhood is full of new immigrants with different ways of doing things. His father is in over his head as a result of a soured deal with ruthless Somalis. Zaid remains reluctant to become involved but when Faiza, his baby sister, is kidnapped after a failed cash drop to resolve the Somali deal, Zaid must decide how far he is prepared to go to protect his family.

View the film trailer here.